Bat species common to Pennsylvania threatened by disease

     This file photo provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources shows a northern long-eared bat. (AP Photo/Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

    This file photo provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources shows a northern long-eared bat. (AP Photo/Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

    One of the most common bat species in Pennsylvania is being threatened by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that’s killed millions of bats in that species and others in North America.

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the northern long-eared bat as a “threatened” species.

    The agency was considering listing the species as “endangered” — a more serious designation — but decided on “threatened” because the bat’s population hasn’t been affected outside areas where the fungal disease has caused problems.

    The wildlife agency is proposing interim rules meant to safeguard the bat’s habitat, including limits on forest timbering. But the rules could also impact the wind energy and natural gas and oil drilling industries, too.

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